LCD Suppliers Can’t Toss N.Y.’s Antitrust Lawsuit

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The state of New York, on behalf of Dell and other tech giants, can sue suppliers of LCD panels they accused of engineering a “global price-fixing conspiracy.”
     New York also brings assigned claims from Dell, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Lenovo for civil penalties, treble damages and injunctive relief.
     AU Optronics and the other defendants cited jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss the antitrust complaint. They claimed that the complaint fails to allege that Dell and the other manufacturers bought the liquid crystal display panels in New York or that they have sufficient New York contacts to be subject to New York law.
     The Northern District of California, which is sorting out the multidistrict litigation, rejected these claims on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston found that nine of 13 master purchase agreements proffered by the state contain New York choice of law provisions.
     Manufacturers that selected New York law established “significant contacts” to satisfy due-process requirements, according to the 11-page ruling. Illston dismissed claims that don’t involve agreements with New York choice of law provisions.
     The judge allowed antitrust claims brought under New York Executive Law, determining that claims under the Donnelly Act and claims for antitrust injury can be brought simultaneously.
     But the state cannot seek treble damages on behalf of New York consumers as well as a $1 million civil penalty since state law says one can only be pursued in lieu of the other.

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